The wicked tenants. Paying taxes. The resurrection. The key commandments. The Messiah is David’s Lord. Beware religious leaders. The widow’s offering.
VERSE 1. He began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the wine press, built a tower, rented it out to a farmer, and went into another country.
A man. The man owns the vineyard. He represents God the Father.
a vineyard. The vineyard represents Israel.
to a farmer. Some translations say “tenant farmers.” They represent religious leaders.
VERSE 2. When it was time, he sent a servant to the farmer to get from the farmer his share of the fruit of the vineyard.
he sent a servant. The owner did not go. Instead, he sent a servant.
VERSE 3. They took him, beat him, and sent him away empty.
VERSE 4. Again, he sent another servant to them; and they threw stones at him, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated.
VERSE 5. Again he sent another; and they killed him; and many others, beating some, and killing some.
VERSE 6. Therefore still having one, his beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
his beloved son. Given what has already happened, this seems like the worst possible choice. Yet it is what God the Father did. He sent his divine son Jesus Christ.
John 3:16-17. For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17. For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
VERSE 7. But those farmers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’
They took him, killed him. The religious leaders killed Jesus Christ.
Mark 12:8. They took him, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
Luke 20:15. They threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do to them?
Hebrews 13:12. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside of the gate.
VERSE 9. What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers, and will give the vineyard to others.
destroy the farmers. Some translations say “put the farmers to death.”
VERSE 10. Haven’t you even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner.
Psalm 118:22-23. The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 23 This is the LORD’s doing. It is marvelous in our eyes.
Matthew 21:42. Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner. This was from the Lord. It is marvelous in our eyes?’
Mark 12:10. Haven’t you even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected was made the head of the corner.
Luke 20:17. But he looked at them and said, “Then what is this that is written, ‘The stone which the builders rejected was made the chief cornerstone?’
Acts 4:11. He is ‘the stone which was regarded as worthless by you, the builders, which has become the head of the corner.’
1 Peter 2:7. For you who believe therefore is the honor, but for those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,”
VERSE 11. This was from the Lord. It is marvelous in our eyes’?”
VERSE 12. They tried to seize him, but they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spoke the parable against them. They left him, and went away.
they feared the multitude. The religious leaders were hypocrites and frauds. Instead of feating God, they feared people.
Proverbs 9:10. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
Job 28:28. To man he said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom. To depart from evil is understanding.’
VERSE 13. They sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to him, that they might trap him with words.
VERSE 14. When they had come, they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are honest, and don’t defer to anyone; for you aren’t partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?
Teacher, we know that you are honest. They preface their question with flattering statements.
They call him teacher, they say he is truthful, they acknowledge that he is not concerned with anyone’s opinion, they say he do not regard a person’s status, and they admit that he is unlike them.
When somebody starts out a questions with a long, flattering preamble, their question will probably be a trap.
VERSE 15. Shall we give, or shall we not give?” But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, “Why do you test me? Bring me a denarius, that I may see it.”
Why do you test me? Jesus calls them out. He says they are trying to trap him in his words.
VERSE 16. They brought it. He said to them, “Whose is this image and inscription?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.”
VERSE 17. Jesus answered them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” They marveled greatly at him.
Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Jesus Christ did not say taxation is wrong.
VERSE 18. Some Sadducees, who say that there is no resurrection, came to him. They asked him, saying,
who say that there is no resurrection. The Sadducees ask this question as a trap. They denied the resurrection, after all.
VERSE 19. “Teacher, Moses wrote to us, ‘If a man’s brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother.’
VERSE 20. There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring.
VERSE 21. The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise;
VERSE 22. and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died.
VERSE 23. In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife.”
VERSE 24. Jesus answered them, “Isn’t this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God?
you are mistaken. There are two great traps that many Christians fall into. Jesus describes them both:
do not know the Scriptures. Many Christians are not rooted in the Scriptures. Instead, their beliefs emanate from culture or from a tradition or from their own experiences. However, if our beliefs are not rooted in the Scriptures, they are built on sand.
We Christians need to dig deep into the Scriptures. Why not take part in our Bible Reading Project? Our Gospel Bytes Project will immerse you each day in a brief passage from one of the four gospels. Or perhaps you could invest your time in our Scripture Memory Project.
nor the power of God. The Lord Jesus told the religious leaders they were in error because they did not know the Scriptures nor the POWER of God. Do you know the POWER of God? Read more »
We need to directly experience the power of God in our lives. Why not explore the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps you could invest time serving the poor. There are lots of people for you to befriend outside your own culture and ethnicity.
VERSE 25. For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
rise from the dead. Jesus is speaking of the resurrection.
VERSE 26. But about the dead, that they are raised; haven’t you read in the book of Moses, about the Bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’?
that they are raised. Jesus says that dead people will be raised. He affirms the resurrection.
not the God of the dead. The One God is the God of the living. To him, all people are alive.
VERSE 28. One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the greatest of all?”
The greatest is. Jesus cuts through all the distractions and drills down to the essentials. Of the 613 commandments in the Old Testament, this is the number 1 most important command.
Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. This is called the Shema. It is quoted from Deuteronomy chapter 6:
Deuteronomy 6:4. Hear, Israel: the LORD is our God. The LORD is one.
The LORD is one. He is God alone. He is the one God and Father of all. Beside him there is no other God. There is none like him. Read more »
In 2012, a High School student named Anna Brooks was a teenager at Temple Israel of West Bloomfield, MI. In a fantastic video, she performs a breathtaking Shema that she wrote herself:
VERSE 30. you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
Deuteronomy 6:5. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.
VERSE 31. The second is like this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
The second is like this. Of the 613 commandments in the Old Testament, this is the number 2 most important command.
love your neighbor as yourself. This is a quote from Leviticus chapter 19:
Leviticus 19:11. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
VERSE 32. The scribe said to him, “Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he,
there is none other but he. The LORD is one. He is God alone. He is the one God and Father of all. Beside him there is no other God. There is none like him. Read more »
VERSE 33. and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
VERSE 34. When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from God’s Kingdom.” No one dared ask him any question after that.
You are not far. This man was close. He was very close to the kingdom of God.
VERSE 35. Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?
the scribes say. The scribes taught that the Messiah would be descended from David. Jesus is indeed a descendent of David. However, Jesus is far more than that.
VERSE 36. For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet.” ’
my Lord. David refers to the future Messiah as his Lord. That indicates that David knew the Messiah would be more than merely his own descendent.
Psalm 110:1. The LORD says to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.”
my right hand. The Bible often mentions “the right hand” of God. That is a position of power and honor. We believe it refers to Jesus Christ.
VERSE 37. Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?” The common people heard him gladly.
VERSE 38. In his teaching he said to them, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces,
This verse seems like a command! Would you consider acting on it? More commands of Jesus Christ from the Gospel According to Mark.
Beware of the scribes. The scribes were respected religious leaders. Yet Jesus commands people to beware of them.
Many religious leaders fall prey to the trappings of their own leadership. This can be observed within just about any religious denomination in any nation.
like to walk. Many denominations have parades. Or something like it. Their leader walks around in the assembly, and people look on with admiration.
long robes. Many religious leaders wear distinctive garb. Some wear a costume of long robes that they parade around in. Others wear distinctive colors that make them easy to recognize. Jesus associates those with the hypocrisy of the scribes.
get greetings. Some religious leaders become angry if they are not greeted with the “proper” titles, even when they are in public. “Hello, Reverend Smith!” or “Hi Pastor Smith” or “Howdy Father Joe!” is the required greeting. An informal greeting such as “Hello, Joe!” would earn a scornful look.
the best seats. Religious hypocrites love to be honored. In the assembly, they sit in the most prominent place in front of everybody. At a banquet, they need to be seated at the head table. In other settings, they insist on sitting where everybody can see and admire them.
VERSE 40. those who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
devour widows’ houses. Many religious leaders are always looking for a way to get more money. A common tactic is to befriend an elderly widow, with the goal that she will leave her estate to the religious leader instead of her family. Or at least that she would leave her estate to the leader’s congregation.
long prayers. Almost all religious leaders fall into this trap. Whether their official prayers are scripted or spontaneous, they will be long and impressive.
VERSE 41. Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much.
VERSE 42. A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin.
VERSE 43. He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, “Most certainly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury,
this poor widow. Who was she? Was she Mary the mother of Jesus?
VERSE 44. for they all gave out of their abundance, but she, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.